Photo: Within the grounds of the Royal Palace.

Cambodia forum

Angkor Wat help!

Posted by esseestpercipi on 21/9/2014 at 04:39

Hi guys!
I am at a complete loss. I have just arrived in Siem Reap and I have no idea where to start. I have a main stream guide book on Cambodia, but it feels outdated (2012) and unclear. I have searched the web and Travelfish and I am at lost as too:

1. How many days? 3 or 5? i guess it is up to us, but we have the time. Is it worth getting the full pass?

2. Getting a tuk tuk. What are the on going rates. In my hotel i get a quote that just seems outrageous.

3. How to plan. What to see first, what not to miss.

As you can see, I feel like a headless chicken. ;-)


#1 esseestpercipi has been a member since 3/3/2014. Location: Spain. Posts: 16
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Posted by exacto on 21/9/2014 at 11:37

I've been to Angkor Wat two times, and the three-day pass seemed the right amount of time both visits. That will give you two full days to check out the main temples, and a third day for an out-of-the-way place or two, like Bantei Srei.

If you aren't sure which places to visit, I'd let your tuk tuk driver pick the first few spots until you figure out what you'd like to see. You can also chat with others at your hotel or restaurants etc. to see where they've been and what they'd suggest. Some folks love the sunrise and sunset trips, for example, while others can't be bothered.

You didn't mention how much the hotel is charging to arrange a tuk tuk for you, so it is difficult to comment on that price. Outrageous is fairly relative, and would depend on the quality of the tuk tuk and if it is a full day (sunrise to sunset) or not. Prices are often tied to the level of hotel too, so if you are staying somewhere posh, I'd expect them to charge more. The advantage of booking through the hotel is that you have some recourse if there is any kid of problem, which there would not likely be anyway.

You are at Angkor Wat. Relax. Have fun. You can't go wrong. Head out to the ruins and wander around. Discover it on your own the first day, then compare what you've seen to what is listed in the guidebook and use the second day to visit the places you missed on the first day. Then use the third day to revisit a few favorites or head out to Bantei Srei or other more isolated spots.

I hope that helps. Cheers.

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Posted by esseestpercipi on 21/9/2014 at 18:38

Thanxs Exacto!
Yup, may be I should clarify:
We stay at a $20-a-night guesthouse in the Wat Bo area.
I also exagerated a bit with the "outrageous". It is overpriced, but not outrageous. They ask $15 for the small tour, $18 for the big tour, and $35 for the Beng malea or banteay srey tours, for Phnom Kulen they ask $70. No guide included in any of these tours. And $5 more for sunrise...
We've booked the big tour and we'll see from there.

As for the days, we haven't decided yet, but we have time, so we might take the 7 days.

Thanks again!

#3 esseestpercipi has been a member since 3/3/2014. Location: Spain. Posts: 16
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Posted by exacto on 21/9/2014 at 19:54

Okay. That $18 for the big tour sounds reasonable to me. That's about 14 euro for a driver, vehicle, and fuel for the entire day, right? I know we paid $10 in 2006 for the big tour, arranged through our guest house. It was an extra $6 way back then for the trek out to Bantei Srei. So those prices you mention sound about right for 2014 prices. (For comparison, our room at Two Dragons was $13 in 2006.)

Big tour for the first day sounds like a smart move. As you say, you can decide from there. Have fun. Cheers.

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Posted by TerroirTravel on 22/9/2014 at 01:32

We were there last year. We got the 3 day pass, and it was plenty.
The first day we made the mistake of hiring a one-way up, and getting a ride back at the end of the day was tough, and cost more, because we were stuck without it. We then hired a tuk tuk for $15/day for angkor wat, same for another day at angkor thom, ta prohm, preah khan, etc. It was worth it to have your own guy. We did not go out to The Rolous group.

Best meal in SR: Mie Cafe.

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Posted by Muggles01 on 22/9/2014 at 03:05

Agree that a 3 day pass is plenty, and let your tuk-tuk driver make suggestions. For what it's worth, when I was there we did Angkor Wat first (overslept and missed sunrise - but on the plus side the crowds were departing as we arrived and we pretty much had the place to ourselves!), then Ta Prohm and the Bayon. The second day we went to Pre Rup (probably my favourite), Banteay Srei (overrun with tours - although a beautiful drive to get there), East Mebon, Neak Puan and Preah Khan (which I also loved). On the third day we went all the way out to Beng Melea - it's a long drive and you pay a separate entrance fee but my friend and I just loved it, its almost totally reclaimed by the jungle and not much restoration work has been done. My feeling is that you can give the Roluos group a skip - we might just have been templed out by then though.

The prices quoted sound right - the nice thing about having your own tuk tuk driver is that they're quite good at avoiding crowds (well, ours was).

My recommendation would be to do your excursions in the morning, and leave afternoons for resting (or lounging by the pool, if your hotel has one), then head out to into SR in the evening. Scrambling around ruins in that heat and humidity is tiring!

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Posted by esseestpercipi on 22/9/2014 at 08:37

First of all, thank you everyone for your tips and advice.
Yesterday I felt a bit overcome by it all.
But let me tell you how my day went, may be it will help others:
We finally got the 7 day pass. I know, I know... But we are keen photographers and we like to take our time...

We entered the area at 8:30 with a lot of traffic. Our first temple, Phrea Khan (stunning!) was busy with chinese tourists, but by the time we got to Neak Pean we were 'almost' alone. We ate in front of this temple, and a big mistake it was... I cook better fried rice! ;-) We asked our driver for advice on where to have lunch but he didnt speak much english...
Next temple en route was Ta Som, which I specially enjoyed. Then Eastern Mebon and Pre Roup.

By the time we saw this fifth temple it was 3pm and we were exhausted, and the drives brought us back to the hotel - all for the arranged price of $18.
Tomorrow, we'll get into the park later so that we can hold on till sunset... But that is another story.

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Posted by WhoNeedsMaps on 11/12/2014 at 15:12

We had an awesome time in Angkor Wat. We actually went with the one day pass to start with and was going to get more if we felt like we needed it.

There are two options, the short and long circuit that the Tuk Tuk's take. We did the short and it had everything we wanted to see. We put together a bit of an Angkor Wat photo essay of our day if your interested!

We negotiated about $15 for the Tuk Tuk and it was the best idea ever, we had some friends who hired bikes and rode around but said the heat got too much!

Just follow the short or the long circuit, the Tuk Tuk will guide you around. They do this sort of tour almost every day and they will show you a map of the two options when you are negotiating a price!

Have Fun!


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Posted by hmd63 on 10/3/2015 at 04:02

in Siem reap and as far as i know, Angkor temples are the main things to do. depend on your interest, buy the tickets 1, 2 or 3 days ticket, then leave your hotel to see the sunrise over the angkor temple, be slow and visit the sites by passion to study more about what is the real Angkor wat, why they call if the biggest religious structure in the world.


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Posted by STEEBEE84 on 19/3/2015 at 11:08

For those reading, check out the Floating village, stunning scenery, a bit pricey but well worth it in comparison to western prices.

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